The time is getting closer now for the completion of mother's "Granny Flat" as we have come to know it. If you've read my previous blogs, you know that my husband and I spend the night with mother each night except for weekends when my sister and her daughter come down. This alone has become very taxing on all of us, to say the least.
Mother's second husband Yates, was well described as a simple gentleman who loved all children and would always have a silly song for them. He would sit quietly with a grin, but hidden intelligence was not far away. My husband Bob might very well have some of the same qualities as Yates had, quiet, a grin or two and all knowing about most things, although I would never let him know I thought this. Since he never reads my blogs, my secret is safe.
One evening, I had come to mother's ahead of my husband Bob. Mother seemed antsy as to when he would be coming and just where he was as she sat on the corner of her couch peering out the window for the first sign of headlights. As we sat together, mother began to talk about her "Hersband." She started with a couple of words such as "well, you know I have a man that's been staying here, don't you?" You can imagine my response to this information. "What do you mean?" I said. "Well, you know, we're not married or anything, he just lives here sometimes. "Ah, mother, you don't have a husband" I said, "you must be thinking about Yates and he passed away, years ago!" "No I'm not" she replied. This is a man that comes here and stays with me and he tends to the cows some, but he sorta looks like Yates." "Are you talking about Donald, mother?" I asked. Donald was Yates and mother's longtime friend and cattle partner. "No Jean, do you not think I have better sense to know who Donald is!" she snapped.
The night went on, and Bob finally came in. Feeling a little more tired than usual, I decided to go to bed early. Mother felt the same, so she followed my cue, leaving Bob to watch TV and cat nap. I had just closed my eyes, when I felt someone's presence at the door. I sat up in bed and saw mother's silhouette from the night light in the hall. I quickly inquired as to what she wanted. "I have two quick questions to ask you," she said. "Alright, but hurry up." "Well, I was just thinking, if I had a husband that was in there in the livingroom, would you know it?" she sheepishly asked. "Yes, mother and that's my husband Bobby in there, you know that!" "Are you sure? she asked. "Yes I'm sure, now what's the second question, so we can go to sleep?" "Well, I was just wondering whose house this is." That last question was one that I had heard hundreds of time and wasn't surprised, but I must say, the first one threw me a little. Mother went on back to bed and we both seemed to get a good nights rest.
A couple of nights later, the same scenario had happened with my mother and I going to bed before my husband Bob. Mother had developed a bad cough and administering cough medicine to a dementia patient is not a good idea, as it could alter their state of mind even more drastically. I suddenly remembered the many times that I had awakened as a child, coughing my head off when mother would appear with a spoon full of honey or jelly. I crept into the kitchen and looking through the refrigerator, spied a jar of peach jelly. I grabbed a spoon and headed on down the hall. "Mother, I whispered at her door, I'm coming in to give you some jelly for your cough." "Alright, come on in," she said. I opened the door and walked over to her bed. She sat up and looked at me standing there with my spoon and jar of jelly. A strange look came over her face as she leaned her head over and looked into the dark of her vanity room behind me, saying, "Jean, there's somebody back there that's trying to talk to you." I turned to see just who she might be seeing, with first thoughts of her newly found "Hersband!" Seeing nothing but her vanity, I high tailed it out of there and jumped in bed pulling the covers over my head like a little child.
As the days went on, mother began telling anybody and everybody about her "Hersband." Comments of, "should I ask him if it's alright" or "do you think he'll mind if I do." Were ever presence on mother's lips.
My husband and I had been called out of town on an unexpected family emergency. While traveling back, my car began to run hot. The next day was a Monday, and car repair was on the front burner for me. A car repair shop is within walking distance of my work, so I was able to leave my car there and pick it up the next day after the repairs had been done. Mother has a fairly new car which just sits in her garage, so I knew it would be a good choice for me to use. As I left her house, I informed her that I would be driving her car, but would return this afternoon. "O, that's fine, just make sure it has plenty of gas, do you need some money to fill it up?" "No mother, the tank is full," I said. "Well, just keep it as long as you need to." she invited. Feeling relieved that I had a second car to drive while mine was being repaired, I began to have a strange feeling that mother would go out and see her car gone and call the police. As I arrived at work, I made a call to remind her that I had taken her car and would return it later on in the day. As I returned, mother met me at the door and all up in arms. She had been pacing the floor with pocketbook on arm, anxiously awaiting for her "Hersband" to return with her car.
Weeks have gone by now and mother is still talking about "the man that stays here some." I just grin to myself as I look at my innocent husband sitting over in the recliner at mothers, knowing that she thinks of him as her "Hersband."